GVSU soccer falls in final

Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Kady Volmering

After beating Lee 3-0 on Thursday, Nov. 29, the undefeated Grand Valley State women’s soccer team fell in the national title game 1-0 to Bridgeport on Saturday, Dec. 1 to finish the season as national runner-ups in Pittsburgh, Penn. 

“We’re a family,” said senior Tara Lierman. “It took a lot of buying in from day one, but they bought in and they came along and that was just special, and this team is really special. Whether we got the result we wanted today or not, it was a phenomenal season and I’m really proud of our team.” 

The Lakers were able to get a few shots off in the first 15 minutes of Thursday’s game against Lee. In the 18th minute of the game, sophomore Caitie Baron was able to score the first goal for the Lakers, breaking through defenders to finish the assist from sophomore Sydney O’Donnell.

With their momentum on an upswing, the Lakers quickly found advance the score in the 21st minute. Sophomore Ava Cook nailed the Lakers’ second, her 24th goal of the season to give the Lakers a 2-0 halftime lead. 

GVSU was able to pull through with a shutout win over the Flames, scoring three goals to take the win and advance their record to 25-0-1. The Flames ended their season with a 17-7-1 record.

Saturday’s match against the Purple Knights was their second matchup of the 2018 season. The Lakers had previously won over Bridgeport 6-0. Their tournament game proved much more competitive. 

Communication had been a focus for GVSU all season long, and All-GLIAC defender Ces Steinwascher wanted that to still be a focus in the title game.

“Communication is really key,” Steinwascher said. “As the season went on, we got better at listening to what each other was saying and trusting that it was the right thing.”

The matchup between the Laker offense and Purple Knight defense proved to be a fair one, as Bridgeport failed to score during the first half as well.

Going into the second half, the Purple Knights’ intensity overpowered GVSU’s, though neither team was able to get to the net very early. As the game ticked into the last 20 minutes, the Lakers flipped a switch and began to build up their momentum, attacking the field at a higher energy level. 

Despite the increased effort, the Purple Knights were able sneak in a goal off the crossbar in the 78th minute of the match.

The Lakers faced a situation they rarely found themselves in during the season, fighting to stay in the game and coming back from behind. With only ten minutes remaining in the match, the pressure was on GVSU to earn back the goal. 

In the final minutes, the Lakers had a free shot at the goal but were unable to score. The Purple Knights ended the game with a 1-0 win over GVSU.

While the 2018 season didn’t end the way the team would have wanted, it’s safe to say that they made some bonds that will continue off the field.

“I’m really proud of our kids and the season we’ve had,” Hosler said. “Obviously, it’s hard to have your first loss be the last match of the year, we reflect back and think about all that we’ve been able to do with this group, I can’t tell you how proud I am.”

The Lakers end the season at 25-1-1.